There’s been an outpouring of reaction to the death of L’Wren Scott, the towering, 6-foot-4 fashion figure who started as a model, styled many of Hollywood’s leading ladies for the red carpet and went on to create her own high-end clothing line that’s been worn by actress Nicole Kidman and First Lady Michelle Obama, among other well-known fashion fans.
Scott’s assistant found her body in her apartment in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Though there are widespread reports she was found hanged, police would say only that no criminal activity was suspected and the coroner is investigating.
Scott was romantically linked to Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger and helped style the band’s stage looks. In Hollywood, she helped forge a new role for celebrity stylists in the fashion world, parlaying her tastemaker status and access to celebrities into a clothing and accessory brand.
“She is someone who will always inspire me both personally and professionally,” said L.A.-based stylist Cristina Ehrlich. “I always addressed her as ‘Lady LS’ because for me, L’Wren was the chicest woman I’ve ever known and I felt she deserved a title. Personally, she had the biggest heart, most wicked sense of humor and warmth.”
With her leggy physique and raven hair, Scott had a striking appearance. “I always thought she was the actual celebrity!” said Julie Gilhart, a fashion consultant and former fashion director of Barneys New York. “L’Wren was so gorgeous in person and in heart.”
“Her clothes fit women so well,” said stylist Jessica Paster. “I always looked up to her work. And she was always so gracious to other stylists.”
On Twitter, “Newsroom” actress Olivia Munn wrote, " Shocked and saddened by the passing of @lwrenscott... She was an amazing soul, talented artist and an unbelievable giving friend. RIP.”
Bianca Jagger wrote, “Heartbroken to learn of the loss of the lovely and talented L’Wren Scott. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. May she rest in peace.”
Bette Midler tweeted, “Just got the news of the beautiful L’Wren Scott’s death perhaps by her own hand. I am devastated. A rare, wonderful, talented soul. Goodbye.”
Born Laura “Luann” Bambrough, Scott was adopted by Mormon parents and raised in Roy, Utah. Her fascination with fashion began when, at age 12 and already 6 feet tall, she began scouring local thrift stores for vintage clothing that she could rework at her sewing machine to fit her unusual proportions.
In her teens, she was discovered by photographer Bruce Weber while he was shooting an ad campaign in Utah. She changed her name to L’Wren Scott and moved to Paris, where she modeled for Chanel and is said to have inspired many of designer Thierry Mugler’s creations.
She came to Los Angeles in the 1990s and, in addition to her work on a variety of commercials (Pepsi, Calvin Klein, Revlon), music videos (Jennifer Lopez, Tina Turner) and fashion shoots (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone), she was photographer Herb Ritts’ creative stylist.
As the first style director for the Academy Awards, Scott was responsible in 2000 for dressing everyone who appeared on the stage, from the performers to the presenters. She also designed original red-carpet gowns for Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Penelope Cruz, Renee Zellweger and others.
One of her most memorable red-carpet moments was at the 2008 Oscars, for which she dressed Kidman in a black Balenciaga gown and designed a dramatic 1,399-carat rough diamond sautoir to go with it. Other magical looks included a curvy Christina Hendricks in Scott’s belted, black-sequin tuxedo robe at the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Cruz showing off her post-baby body in Scott’s low-cut, sleeveless, firecracker-red sequin gown at the 2011 Oscars. Scott also designed costumes for films, consulting on Kidman’s wardrobe for 1999’s “Eyes Wide Shut” and Ellen Barkin’s wardrobe for 2007’s “Ocean’s Thirteen.”
She launched her clothing collection in 2006, selling it at Barneys New York, Maxfield and other high-end stores. Despite her red-carpet expertise, she wanted to dress all women, regardless of age or size, and was obsessive over the interior construction of her clothes, which were designed to flatter. Her look ranged from rock chick to romantic. Cutaway jackets that nipped in at the waist, pencil skirts and embellished cashmere cardigans were signature pieces, meant to be worn for more than one season. “As opposed to buying 20 pieces you don’t really like, you can have one dress, one pencil skirt and one cardigan you know aren’t going out of fashion,” she told me during an interview in 2011. “It’s like having an old friend you know you’re going to dinner with again.”
In December 2013, she brought her fiercely feminine aesthetic to the masses, with a collection for Banana Republic.
She met Jagger on a shoot in 2001 and became romantically involved with the Rolling Stones frontman soon afterward. Although they were quiet about their relationship, he was a fixture at the intimate lunches she hosted to show her collections during New York Fashion Week. In September 2008, Jagger premiered two new songs during Scott’s show.
In recent years, she split her time between London and New York. In February, the showing of her fall 2014 collection was canceled because of production delays.